by D.L. Wilson
Book signings are very important avenues for new authors to gain readers and improve visibility in the market place. I’ve learned through a great deal of trial and error while promoting my first novel Unholy Grail what works and what to be cautious of in the fiction arena. I’m polishing the signing approach with my latest thriller Sirocco.
When planning a signing it is important to determine the best day and time for each particular retail location. Check out the volume of customers by stopping by the store at various times. I’ve found that, in general, Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons are good times. Ask the community relations manager or store manager for their recommendations. Also be sure to arrive early so that you are prepared when the store sets up your signing table.
Provide the store with materials to promote your signing. Posters highlighting your book and signing should be provided along with digital photo files of you and your book cover. Some of the larger book stores like Barnes & Noble can make posters through their corporate system to promote your signing using your digital files. Free book marks in presentation cases that mention the date and time of your signing could be provided to be displayed at the cash registers and information booths. Notify local newspapers about your signings in their areas for possible media attention.
Ask the book store to place your signing in the front of the store near the entrance. That will allow you to be able to approach customers as they enter the store. That “first impression” is very important in attracting the attention of a potential buyer of your signed novel. As customers enter the store approach each one and offer them a book mark that promotes your novel. Most people coming to a book store will accept a free book mark even though they may not stop and look at your book. As they go through the store they will glance at your book mark and if the blurbs and synopsis are powerful, many will return to review your novel and hopefully purchase a signed copy.
An image, like a picture, is worth a thousand words. Dress according to your audience and provide posters or banners on stands next to your signing table to draw customers to your book. Once someone picks up your book and reviews the contents, offer to answer any questions. Provide clear, concise information about the plot, characters, and research you may have done to write the book. Be sure your comments create a powerful incentive to buy a signed copy.
Image courtesy of Herman Brinkman.